The media is one of the most powerful tools for businesses. Why? It gives them a large platform from which they can reach and engage with audiences. However, as the tired cliché goes, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.

If not handled correctly, the wrong kind of publicity in the media can quickly harm a brand’s reputation. For this reason, brands often find themselves constantly hitting PR crises instead of finding those fantastic PR opportunities. But this is where media training can help!

Media training teaches individuals how to make the press their ally when it comes to communicating their brand story successfully to audiences. Additionally, it equips PR pros with the necessary skills to avoid negative press. Thus, it gives brands the agency to take control of their media appearances and ensure positive coverage. Consider us sold on this!

So, warm yourself up for some media training as media update’s Lara Smit discusses four ways your brand can benefit from it:

1. Your brand will understand the media

Although we are exposed to the media space every day, we still know very little about how the industry as a whole actually works. Not only does media training give you a better understanding of the media landscape, but it gives you an extensive knowledge about the media channels that are relevant to you.

Having this kind of understanding allows you to stay ahead of the game by learning how to use these channels to your advantage. It can also teach you how to appropriately tailor your responses according to the medium that they are being communicated through.

For example, television interviews require interviewees to be animated and entertaining. The sessions are also time-constrained and, therefore, only give you a short window to convey your brand’s message to audiences.

On the other hand, mediums like magazine interviews have less of a time constraint. Because of this, spokespeople will have the opportunity to discuss the brand and its products with more detail and in a more formal tone. The approach and presentation vary from medium to medium, and platform to platform.

2. Your brand will communicate efficiently in the media

The key to communicating efficiently with the media is to isolate the key messages of your brand’s story and convey them in a comprehensive way. Your key messages are what you want audiences to know about your brand, its products and its services. Therefore, they must be communicated in a way that audiences will understand them.

One of the biggest challenges for spokespeople is to not get lost in ramblings full of company jargon that potential stakeholders won’t even understand. Media training assists them in avoiding this by showing how to outline key messages and how to communicate them in a comprehensible and captivating way. How?

Most media training professionals take a hands-on approach to training through a series of practical tasks. One way of doing this is by putting individuals to the test by having them participate in fake scenarios. These scenarios are then recorded and reviewed together with the individual being tested.

By reviewing the recordings together, these individuals are able to see how they respond in interviews. They are then given feedback on these responses, which helps them concentrate on what they should avoid and how they can improve their responses going forward.

However, efficient communication isn’t just verbal. Media training professionals also use the same hands-on approach to teach spokespeople how to improve their non-verbal communication.

Individuals are taught how to effectively use paralanguage. This includes vocal inflections, speed and volume of speech, as well as tone of voice. Additionally, professional also give insights into body language such as:

  • facial expressions
  • eye contact
  • posture, and
  • hand gestures.

3. Training helps manage your brand’s reputation

Journalists are skilled researchers. They are well-informed on everything there is to know about your brand. Additionally, they are not afraid to ask hard-hitting questions that leave their interviewees reeling.

Therefore, if your brand or client has made their way into some controversial conversations, it is guaranteed that the spokesperson will be asked about it by the media.

As we know, in situations like this, the representative's response could publicly make or break your brand’s reputation. So, how can media training help you build your reputation and not bruise it?

Firstly, it teaches individuals how to adapt to various interview styles. This is a very important skill to have as it helps you respond in the best way possible, depending on the nature of the conversation. For example, trainees are taught to read their environments and adjust according to the atmosphere of the interview. This involves taking note of the interviewer’s behaviour, such as the delivery of their questions. Trainees are also taught to consider what the intentions of these questions may be and change their answers accordingly.

Secondly, it teaches the participant how to deflect any negative commentary about their brand or industry by directing the conversation onto a more positive course. This is important because it ensures that the interview will not result in negative coverage. It also helps audiences have a positive perspective of the business throughout the interview.

Media training also helps brands to avoid negative press by preparing their representatives for difficult questions. It does so by teaching spokespeople how to prepare answer outlines to potential questions. 

Having prepared in this way prevents these individuals from deviating into answers that could harm the brand’s reputation. Furthermore, it ensures that they answer the questions confidently without taking time to think about their response — portraying the brand itself to be confident, assured and transparent.

4. You'll be able to adapt your communication for global markets

Another nifty benefit that comes from media training is that it teaches brands how to adjust their communication for a variety of audiences. Why? Communication that is acceptable in some cultures is not always accepted in others.

People that belong to high-context cultures are sensitive to non-verbal communication. They could put more focus on:

  • how a sentence is conveyed
  • facial expressions
  • eye contact
  • vocal inflections, and
  • body language.

Examples of countries that belong to high-context cultures are Japan, Korea and China.

However, people who belong to a low-context culture are very different. They rely heavily on the literal meaning of words and the content of a sentence as opposed to how it is physically conveyed.

Additionally, they value logic over feeling and, therefore, they prefer objective communication. Examples of countries that belong to low-context cultures are Germany, the United States and North America.

Being able to adapt to various audiences opens the door for your brand to expand its offerings into various countries and groups. Increasing your target audience is a sure sign of success, we say!

Have you ever gone for media training? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want more tips on how to make the media your friend and not your foe. Check out our article: Three examples of crisis management to learn from

*Image courtesy of Canva